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COVID Questions Continue to Plague Islanders

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The New York Islanders have caught legitimately one break this season, and no pun intended, it was the latest 12-day break between games that allowed New York to get as healthy as they have been all season long.

Rosner: Zach Parise Has Been Isles Most Consistent Forward

Besides that, the Islanders have seen 10 games postponed, the latest a four-game West Coast trip, with the final game supposed to have been played Tuesday against the Calgary Flames.

But even as the Islanders get set to play a game this Thursday could that game and a few games down the line be postponed as well?

The Islanders’ next opponent, the New Jersey Devils, saw their Monday game against the Tampa Bay Lightning postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. As of Jan. 10, New Jersey has seven players in COVID-19 protocol.

It seems that the NHL has learned from the Islanders fiasco back in November, as seven was the number of players New York had on their COVID list. Unfortunately for the Islanders, the league forced them to play through it, while games have been postponed for far less.

But you know how the saying goes, “life is not fair,” and the Islanders are in the mindset that they will play Thursday.

“We’re preparing for Thursday,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said to the media on Monday. “We need to play, we’ve practiced enough.”

“I think the guys are ready to go.”

Forward Zach Parise reiterated his head coach and pointed out that these games need to be played if possible with all the postponements thus far.

“Our approach is we are playing Thursday,” forward Zach Parise said. “Until we get told that the game’s off, which hopefully it’s not going to be, we’re gearing up to play. ”

“Hopefully, it is because we got a lot of games to make up.”

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 concerns do not stop with New Jersey.

After the Islanders face the Washington Capitals at UBS Arena on Saturday, the next two matchups are against the Philadelphia Flyers, a home and home on Monday, Jan. 17th (in Philadelphia) and then Tuesday, Jan. 18th (on Long Island).

But the Flyers game against the Carolina Hurricanes slated for Tuesday has been postponed due to four players on Philadelphia currently in COVID-19 protocol.

As we saw with the Islanders and many teams, once COVID is in the locker room, it spreads quickly.

With the new NHL COVID-19 rules for U.S.-based teams, based on the latest recommendations from the CDC, asymptomatic players can leave isolation after five days as long as they receive a negative PCR test.

Trotz spoke about focusing on one game at a time, so there is no thought about next week just yet.

The Islanders have played the least amount of the games in the National Hockey League with just 28, and we are already through the first week in January.

If more games are postponed, with the NHL having already surpassed 100 postponed games this season, it starts to become close to impossible for each team to play a full 82-game schedule…especially the Islanders.

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